Jane Magnusson (SE)

Director, screenwriter, journalist. Born 1968 in Mölnlycke, Sweden. Holds a bachelors degree from Brown University, 1992.

Jane Magnusson has an extensive career as cultural journalist and filmmaker. In 2013 she was given the Axel Liffner-award, for “twisting and turning cultural journalism in every media format imaginable, old as well as new. A constant inventiveness has brought us to the dark corners of social democracy, to the bottom of the swimmingpool, into Mat-Tina’s very nose (in a popular gourmet TV show) and even to the tiny Gotlandic corner of the VHS-shelf where you’ll find Ghostbusters.” Magnusson has been a freelance journalist but has also worked at the national newspaper Dagens Nyheter and SVT, the Swedish national public TV broadcaster, while publishing books and making movies. She was born in Mölnlycke but grew up in the United States, Singapore and Hong Kong, graduating from Brown University in 1992, receiving a BA in ”Modern Culture and Media/Film”.

It was her hobby, synchronized swimming, which first brought her into the film making business. This in a rather literal sense as her very first production was Alla vi i köttflotten (2004), about Sweden’s one and only synchronized swimming club for men founded in 2003, of which Magnusson was the coach. Her interest in synchronized swimming has been present since childhood, and she has herself been part of a team, before coaching. Her passion for the sport had previously resulted in a sort of mock biography on the swimmer and Hollywood star Esther Williams, in the book Esther Williams – skenbiografin, published in the year 2000, which tells the make-believe story of what Williams’ life might have looked like during the years when she seemed to have all but disappeared off the face of the earth. In 2008 Magnusson wrote the script for the Swedish feature comedy The Swimsuit Issue (Allt flyter, 2008), about a group of men starting their own synchronized swimming team, directed by Måns Herngren. During the shoot Magnusson also stepped in as the coach and tutor for the actors, who being used to taking direction learned quickly but it was nevertheless a difficult task as they really couldn’t hear anything while their ears were submerged under water.

With the recipient of the national Guldbagge award for best documentary in 2010, Ebbe – The Movie (2009), Magnusson consolidated her presence in the Swedish film industry. With the documentary, made together with Karin af Klintberg, centred on the man, the myth, the legend and the compulsive liar the liar behind the so-called “Ebbe Carlsson scandal” in relation to the murder investigation of Swedish PM Olof Palme in the late 1980’s. This portrait was followed by what would be the first of several films about legendary Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. Together with journalist Hynek Pallas, Magnusson made the documentary Bergman’s Video (2013), in which they interviewed international auteurs such as Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, and Martin Scorsese on the influence of Bergman in global film culture and in their personal filmmaking.

The short film Cupcake (2014) marks a departure from the growing trend of documentary portraits in Magnusson’s filmmaking career. The short, written by author Karolina Ramqvist, tells the story of how an intimate relationship between two women slowly comes to pieces because of both internal and external reasons. Cupcake has been shown on international festivals all over the world, and was awarded Grand Prix for best short at Warszawa International Film Festival 2014.

Working for SVT, on productions such as Kobra and K Special (both long running programmes about contemporary culture), Magnusson has created documentary portraits of Christina Lindberg and Gösta Ekman, among others. After the passing of beloved comedy actor Gösta Ekman, Jane Magnusson lead the team making the K Special documentary In memory of Gösta Ekman (2017), based on the last interview made with Ekman together with interviews with actors and comedians influenced by Ekman’s work. Finding the right balance and tone of address was the main challenge for the production, according to Magnusson: – It is of course a portrait of someone very funny who has sadly passed away. You’ll want to laugh till you cry, but at the same time remember and mourn him. That was very difficult to achieve.

2018 marks 100 years since the birth of Ingmar Bergman, and Magnusson is involved in several projects about the prolific director. Partnering up with cartoonist Liv Strömqvist Magnusson is part of a group of shorts made under the title Bergman Revisited with their film Vox Lipoma (Fettknölen, 2018), a cartoon difficult to put in one specific genre as it is based on facts and revolves around real people, but with major elements of fiction. The vox lipoma in question is a small growth on Ingmar Bergman’s cheek, a lump which during several decades of his life was mysteriously missing, only to come back in his later years. With a satirical outset this lump becomes a symbolic character through which the filmmakers investigate the famous director’s relationship with romantic attachments and the ensuing consequences relating to power and sexuality.

The ambitious project simply called Bergman (or Bergman – A year in a life, 2018) will come to life both as a documentary film and a mini series for television, airing in Sweden in December 2018. The film version has been selected for Cannes Film Festival, and the fitting category of Cannes Classics, where it will have its premiere. The project aims to look at all aspects of Ingmar Bergman, both his professional and private life, focusing on his most productive year: 1957. Magnusson: – When I first began researching what Bergman’s life was like in 1957, I was stunned and thought that somebody really ought to make a film about this very intense year of his life. And then I thought – why shouldn’t I make that film myself? Bergman is the Cannes Film Festival’s most beloved director of all time –  getting the opportunity to show the film there is fantastic.

Magnusson is also working on a very different documentary project, although it too falls within the portrait category. Magnusson is following the 19-year-old Australian model Madeline Stuart who is the world’s only professional model with Downs syndrome, as of today. Like the two Bergman films, this project is made with the production company B-reel Films. The film wishes to, by showing us Madeline’s work in a very exclusive and very excluding as well as normative world, discuss and question our collective ideas on beauty and disabilities.

Freya Kilander (2018)

Basic info

Main profession: Director
Born: 1968
Active: 2008-

Filmography

Regi:
Everybody Loves Madeline (2019)
Bergman (2018)
Fettknölen (2018)
Christina Lindberg (2015)
Cupcake (2014)
Bergmans video (2013)
Ebbe – The Movie (2009)
Alla vi i köttflotten (2004)
Manus:
Everybody Loves Madeline (2019)
Fettknölen (2018)
Gunnel Lindblom: ut ur tystnaden (2018)
Bergmans video (2013)
Ebbe – The Movie (2009)
Allt flyter (2008)
Idé:
Allt flyter (2008)
Roll:
Män som simmar (2010)
Övrig medarbetare:
Allt flyter (2008)

Read more about the films at Svensk Filmdatabas (SE)

Awards

Guldbagge 2010 Bästa dokumentärfilm: Ebbe – the movie (2009)

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